Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Founding Chair GSRRA, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: [email protected]).
Global warming has caused the speedy meltdown of the Glaciers, and heavy rain in this summer monsoon season. Which has caused unprecedented heavy floods in Pakistan. Almost one-third of the country is underwater. Flood has cost thousands of human lives, injured thousands, and damaged millions of houses, Cattel and animals died in millions. Crops were totally damaged, infrastructure danged to a huge extent, and electricity, water, telephone, and gas systems were disrupted totally.
The rescue operation is ongoing, there are dead bodies, but no place to dispose of them, the injured have no hospitals to be treated, homeless people have no place to live, no food, no drinking water, no health care, no transportation, water is sounding everywhere and misery is visible all around. The government is overegged in recuse operation, the most important is saving human lives. Army and civil leadership are visiting the flood-hit area and issuing instructions on the spot. The integrated approach is implemented to save human lives.
In addition to Government, many private organizations, NGOs, and individuals are also extending helping hands. The public is donating generously. Pakistan is a nation of philanthropists and donating in the form of cash, tents, food, medicines, etc.
The international community is also generous toward Pakistan. UN structure is actively assisting Pakistan with humanitarian aid. Friendly nations like Saudi Arabia, UAE, China, Europe, America, etc., are fully supportive and help flood-hit victims.
We are grateful to all nations, countries, and individuals, who so ever have helped Pakistan at this critical moment. However, China has surpassed all other nations in assisting Pakistan in the recent flood. Not only the Chinese Government has delivered tents, medicines, boats, and food, but a handsome cast too. There exists a huge Chinese community in Pakistan, either in CPEC-related projects, or otherwise, all are helping flood victims according to their capacities. The state-owned corporations are doing more, and the small and medium-sized enterprises are helping according to their business nature. Whereas many individuals and small businessmen are also sharing their social responsibility. If compiled all assistance from the Chinese government as well as from the private sector and individuals, it has surpassed all other nations.
China and Pakistan have a history of helping each other in difficult moments, whether it was an earthquake in 2005 or a flood in 2010, China has assisted Pakistan in a huge manner. No matter whether it was Wen Chuan (汶川) earthquake or another natural disaster in China， Pakistan has extended a helping hand to the best of its capabilities. It is a tradition of the two Iron Brothers to stand with each other in all critical moments. A friend in deed is a friend in need. We are time-tested, all-weather, all dimensions, strategic partners, and eternal friends.
The initial estimates show, that the damage from the floods in Pakistan will be “far greater” than $10 billion, according to the planning minister, after millions lost their homes and livelihoods while key roads and bridges have been washed away. The Secretary-General UN has said the damages might be around 30 Billion US dollars. Some other sources are saying the damages might be above US dollars 40 Billion. However, the exact estimates are yet to be made after the flood water is dried off and all parts of Pakistan are accessible. Currently, the Government is in rescue emergency only, and many parts of the country are not accessible due to no infrastructure or communication means. It is believed, that it might take a couple of months to have a good idea of the estimated cost of damages and rehabilitation, which might be in three digits – US Dollars 100 billion or above.
United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres visited Pakistan on 9-10 September 2022 to show solidarity with the people of Pakistan, braving a colossal climate-induced natural disaster caused by unprecedented rains and floods across the country. The two-day visit comprised high-level meetings, briefings, interactions with displaced people, first responders, UN country representatives, civil society, and media. He has visited flood-hit areas and eye-witnessed the suffering of victims.
The UNSG said that countries like Pakistan, which have done almost nothing to contribute to global warming, do not deserve this. He added, “I know how volunteers, civil servants, army, NGOs have been working together in a remarkable way to mitigate the suffering of Pakistani people”. The UNSG stated, “My voice is at the service of the Government and people of Pakistan. I have seen the enormous generosity of Pakistanis in protecting and assisting more than 6 million Afghan refugees and helping each other in previous calamities such as during the earthquake and floods. My admiration for this country is limitless”. He assured us that the UN would do everything in its capacity to help the people of Pakistan. The UNSG appealed to the international community to provide massive support to Pakistan for not only relief assistance but also for rehabilitation and climate resilient reconstruction. He emphasized that it was not just a matter of solidarity but a matter of justice, as countries like Pakistan that have not contributed to climate change are amongst the frontline countries impacted by climate change.
The Secretary-General reaffirmed the full support and cooperation of the UN both for ongoing humanitarian relief work as well as for long-term recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. The Secretary-General discussed various ideas for mobilizing finance and for enhancing fiscal space for Pakistan’s efforts to rehabilitate and reconstruct. Both sides exchanged views on how to reinforce climate action, with special emphasis on supporting the adaptation efforts of developing countries through debt swaps.
Some areas of Pakistan usually have a rainfall of around 50 mm annually, but, this time there was rainfall of up to 1700 mm just in a couple of weeks, the amount of water, was unimaginable and beyond description in a simple world. The magnitude and intensity of the flood were unprecedented.
It is not only Pakistan, a few other nations also faced the impact of climate change. Facing natural disasters like these heavy floods is not possible for any single country to overcome. It is the collective responsibility of whole humankind to fight against natural disasters. Only collective efforts can defeat disasters. Especially, where, the cause of climate change belongs to G-20 nations, it is their moral obligation and legal compulsion to share their social responsibility generously.
G-20 is making rapid economic developments but at the heavy cost of climate change. Pakistan’s carbon emissions are much below permissible but became the worst victim of Climate change.
It is to be alarmed that usually heavy rains and floods, may be followed by earthquakes, and water-related diseases breakout, which can be more fatal. There are many cases of water-related diseases and a severely lacking appropriate health care facilities.
It is urged that the Government of Pakistan compile a comprehensive report of flood-related damages, and estimate the cost of complete rehabilitations. Then approach the UN appropriate platform, and demand compensation legitimately.
It is appealed to all nations and individuals to join hands in protecting humankind from natural disasters, not only in the case of Pakistan but also in any corner of the earth, where ever is required. The rich nations must proactively and generously extend a helping hand, especially the G-20 who are responsible for up to 80% of climate change.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)